Switching Sides: Former MPAA Heavyweight Paul Brigner

April 19, 2012 -

Cory Doctorow, who you may know best as the gentleman behind the wonderful Boing Boing web site, has a brand new column in The Guardian examining why a former defender of SOPA would suddenly decide to switch sides.

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Square Enix Audio Launches for Japan

April 11, 2012 -

Adriasang reports that Square Enix has launched a free streaming music service that you can access with PC and Android devices. Though the site is intended for those who reside in Japan, you can get at it directly from your PC by visiting the streaming music website. Most of the site is in Japanese but there is a small bit of English as well - enough for just about anyone to figure out how to navigate around the site.

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Nero Promotes New Album with Old School Beat 'Em Up

March 20, 2012 -

London based dub-step duo Nero have launched a "Live Rig" on their official website, which gives fans a chance to listen to their music while playing an 8-bit game aptly titled "NERO." The game, an 8-bit homage to Final Fight or Streets of Rage, lets players beat up various street thugs while listening to one of the groups many tunes.

Here's the intro text from the game:

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Video Games Live Goes 'Off the Grid'

March 19, 2012 -

Video Games Live has typically been a "big city" event that fine folks in smaller cities and towns rarely ever get to experience. But the organizers of the video game music event want to change that by going "off the grid" to bring the show to some smaller venues.

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Last Call: Nubuwo Debut Bundle Kickstarter Needs You

March 1, 2012 -

Game audio news web site NUBUWO is making a last minute appeal for help it reach its final funding goal of $12,000 before 2:00 am ET.

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Judge OKs Developer's Suit Against Beyonce

December 7, 2011 -

A Manhattan judge has cleared the way for a video game maker to continue a $100 million lawsuit against singer Beyonce.

The suit, originally filed in April, had been on hold pending whether the case should be thrown out, but without explanation, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Charles Ramos ruled the case for breach of contract by Gate Five LLC could move forward.

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MPAA Admits (Sort of) to Drafting SOPA, Protect IP Acts

December 1, 2011 -

The New York Times Media Decoder blog has an interesting story about Michael O’Leary the senior executive vice president for global policy and external affairs of the Motion Picture Association of America. While the story is about toning down SOPA to address "legitimate concerns," the real story is something that opponents knew all along: the MPAA and friends are basically the authors of the bill.

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Sony: All Qriocity Services Back Online June 9

June 9, 2011 -

Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) and Sony Network Entertainment International announced that they will "fully restore" all Qriocity by day's end on June 9 in "all serviced territories, excluding Japan." That means that PlayStation Network and Qriocity services which were shut down on April 20 due to a massive security breach are available and working as they were prior to the incident.

SCE says that Video On Demand and Music Unlimited services powered by Qriocity are now "fully functional" on all compatible devices. PlayStation Network has been up for a few weeks in most territories, and last week SCE relaunched the PlayStation Store and gave users access to free games as a "thank you" for their patience.

An announcement related to the restoration of the remaining services on Qriocity in Japan will be made at a later date, said SCE.


Tennessee Passes 'Web Entertainment Theft' Bill

June 2, 2011 -

The Associated Press is reporting that Tennessee lawmakers have passed a bill that makes it a crime to login into to another person's account to listen to songs or movies from services such as Netflix and Rhapsody. The law doesn't make a distinction between logging in with or without the account holder's permission either.

The bill only needs the governor's signature to become law. The AP reports that Gov. Bill Haslam is expected to sign the bill. As you can probably guess, the law was heavily pushed by the music industry in the state, looking for a new way to fight against illegal music sharing. 

While the bill was supposedly meant to target hackers and those that sell passwords of such services online, the bill's sponsor admits that it could be used to target those who use a friend's or relative's subscription.

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Video Games Live E3 Line-Up Revealed

May 30, 2011 -

Video Games Live will hold its 200th show during E3 in Los Angeles in early June. To celebrate this milestone organizers saying they are "pulling out all the stops" with some special performances from some of history's most popular games.

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Zynga Goes Gaga

May 11, 2011 -

Lady Gaga and Zynga have inked a deal to transform the popular Facebook game FarmVille with various Gaga-isms. The deal is meant to promote the launch of Lady Gaga's latest album "Born this Way." Launching May 17, the promotion gives players the opportunity to unlock and listen to "little monsters" by playing GagaVille, a neighboring farm in FarmVille filled with unicorns, crystals and sheep on motorcycles. The full album also comes bundled as a free download with the purchase of a special Zynga $25 game card, available exclusively at Best Buy.

"I want to celebrate and share ‘Born This Way’ with my little monsters in a special way that’s never been done before," said Lady Gaga. "Zynga has created a magical place in FarmVille where my fans can come play, and be the first to listen to the album."

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Grammys Don't Leave Out Games in Reshuffle of Categories

April 11, 2011 -

While the organizers of the Grammys might have eliminated well over 30 categories to streamline its awards this year, one category that remains is video games. Speaking to IndustryGamers, Bill Freimuth of The Recording Academy said that this is a first step in getting video games their own special category.

"I think this could be viewed as a first step in the direction of video games getting their own category," said Bill Freimuth of The Recording Academy to IndustryGamers. "Many people from the game community have been asking us to create a special category for games over the years, but the main reason we haven't is because we have received very few entries from game publishers."

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Silent Hill Composer Auctions Guitar for Japan

March 30, 2011 -

Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka is auctioning off the guitar he used to write all the music for the game on in a bid to raise money for Play for Japan. According to eBay auction information, "the soul of Silent Hill" resides in the guitar, and there is a good chance that the "guitar is haunted." As silly as that sounds, the guitar is certainly an item worth owning because it is a piece of gaming history.

The complete lot consists of a Yamaha APX-15FM acoustic electric guitar, a Line 6 FB4, and a Line 6 POD. Yamaoka supposedly bought the guitar right before he started working on the first Silent Hill game and has used it for every game in the series since then. He also supposedly used it in a live performance of the Silent Hill music at the Video Games Live concerts.

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Red Dead Wins Big at GANG Awards

March 7, 2011 -

Red Dead Redemption was the big winner at the Game Audio Network Guild (GANG) Awards at GDC in San Francisco last week, scooping up four awards in various categories including audio of the year, music of the year, best interactive score, and best dialogue. The game was nominated in ten different categories. The game also managed to sweep the GDC Awards last week.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 won Sound Design Of The Year and Best Use Of Multi-Channel Surround, while Bizarre Creations' last game, James Bond 007: Blood Stone, won Best Original Instrumental and Best Original Vocal.

A full list of all this year's winners are below:

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Appeals Court Rules: No Doubt Lawsuit Against Activision Can Proceed

February 15, 2011 -

The Los Angeles Times reports that Activision has lost its bid to get a lawsuit filed by ska-rockers No Doubt thrown out. A three-judge panel rejected the company's motion to throw out the 2009 lawsuit that alleged breach of contract.

The group contends that the breach occurred when Activision allowed players of Band Hero to use band members' avatars to "perform songs they did not write." The band said in its lawsuit that this "transformed No Doubt band members into a virtual karaoke circus act."

In its appeal of the suit, Activision said that it was simply a matter of "creative expression." The three-judge panel apparently disagreed.

No Doubt can now proceed with its lawsuit.

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The 'George 'Geohot' Hotz Rap

February 14, 2011 -

You can't make this kind of stuff up.. George "Geohot" Hotz has apparently created a rap about Sony trying to sue him for jailbreaking the PS3.

The sometimes explicit rap video appeared on his YouTube account explaining the lawsuit and challenging Sony (though I think that's all bluster for the sake of the rap, son).

Some of the lyrics are NSFW, but you can find them below, slightly edited for the sake of work and school safety :

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Report: No More DLC Releases for Activision Music Games

February 10, 2011 -

You are probably aware of the fact that Activision said it plans to discontinue the Guitar Hero series of music games (and the latest True Crime game), and that it plans to cut 500 employees from its workforce as a result. The company also plans to close at least one studio, but won't publicly say which one is shutting down..

However, what you may not have known is that DLC for games such as DJ Hero and Guitar Hero will soon end as well.

According to a ShackNews report - citing an update to the "Guitar Hero Franchise Update FAQ" - the future of music game DLC is grim. In answer to the question "Are you still going to make new DLC for Guitar/DJ Hero?," the FAQ reads:

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Report: Harmonix Slashes 12 - 15 Percent of its Staff

February 8, 2011 -

While details are paper thin at the moment, multiple media outlets (thanks ShackNews) are reporting that Harmonix has laid off 12 - 15 percent of its 250 strong staff. The company says that the downsizing is meant to bring the Rock Band maker in line with its current development plans.

Apparently those development plans don't involve a decent share of its full-time employees. The company is rumored to be working on a 3DS game, but other games being developed at the studio are unknown at this time.

Sources close to the company claim that these layoffs will not affect future projects or current downloadable content plans for Rock Band 3 or Dance Central.

 

This is troubling news, but not completely unexpected. Earlier this year the company regained its independence after being sold to a holding company for a mere $50.

More on this story as it becomes available.

Source: ShackNews

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Motely Crue's Nikki Sixx Saves Christmas

December 24, 2010 -

Motley Crue co-founder and bassist Nikki Sixx is playing a not-so-secret Santa to children in North Carolina being treated for cancer. On December 10 a 45-year old man robbed the hospice of its console systems and games. When Sixx heard about it he decided that he needed to find a way to help. A radio host now, Sixx reached out to Sony, EA, Disney, Nintendo, and Microsoft to help the children. He also talked about it on his radio program.

Showing that they have souls, all of the companies donated games for the children and replacement consoles. While this might seem like a small thing to you or I, it's a big deal to children who need a distraction when going through the agonies of cancer treatment and recovery.

On a related note, Providence Division Police Department have captured the man that stole the items. The 45-year-old Charles Hinton was taken into custody for the crime on December 18th.

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Viacom Dumps Harmonix Music Systems

December 23, 2010 -

On the heels of a lawsuit by ex-Harmonix shareholders against Viacom, the media giant has unloaded the company on Harmonix-SBE Holdings LLC, an affiliate of investment firm Columbus Nova, LLC. The company had said in November that it planned to sell Harmonix. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed at press time.

Obviously, Harmonix-SBE Holdings LLC is a holding company of some sort, but details on who has an interest in the company besides the investment firm is unknown at this point. Some have reported that Harmonix holds the controlling interest, but that has not been confirmed beyond a vague statement below. A post by Harmonix's John Drake on Rockband.com would lead one to believe that the company has a controlling interest (emphasis ours, not theirs, in the statement below):

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Author Anne B. Ragde Says One Thing, Does Another

December 16, 2010 -

Norwegian author Anne B. Ragde is a staunch advocate of intellectual property rights. As an author, that stance is not very surprising, considering that she makes her living off people paying for the things she writes. She has made her share of strong statements about the subject of piracy too, as highlighted in this excellent story from The Escapist:

"Piracy scares the hell out of me. I do not know what to say. I lose sleep at night over it," she said in an interview with the Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv. "I have figured out that I've lost half a million kroner ($72,500) on piracy of my books, maybe more."

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Entertainment Industry Trade Groups: Lawsuits Don't Protect Property

December 13, 2010 -

Trade groups including the Recording Industry Association of America, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the Motion Picture Association of America say that currently copyright law gives too many excuses to service providers to do nothing about copyright protection. The statement is part of a response to a Notice of Information on copyright policy issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce. A Notice of Information is a request for information from interested parties and anyone else that wants to make comments about a particular issue. That request garnered responses from nine trade groups.

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File-Sharing, Copyright & Politics Serve as Muse for UK Musician

October 20, 2010 -

Indie musician Dan Bull isn’t afraid to take on politicians, fellow musicians or difficult subjects (such as file sharing and copyright). His latest music video, set the to the strains of Jay-Z’s Death of Auto-Tune, is entitled Death of ACTA, referring, of course, to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.

Full lyrics to the song, featuring lines such as “I'm just a citizen that's teaching you a lesson,
for restricting my freedom of expression, Yes, and deep packet inspection? squeeze that up your rectum, If your postman did that to you you'd be having him sectioned,” can be viewed on TechDirt.

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Music Industry to Google: What is Unlawful Activity?

August 19, 2010 -

According to Politico’s Morning Tech blog, The RIAA, SoundExchange, BMI, The Recording Academy and nine other music groups have sent a letter to Eric Schmidt (Google's CEO) asking for more clarification on what it considers "lawful and unlawful activity on the Web." The question relates to Google and Verizon's proposals to the government on Net Neutrality which was released last week.

In a letter sent to Google yesterday, the groups asked for a more in-depth definition of activity, especially as it relates to "content rights." Here's an excerpt:

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VICE Corners RIAA President for Interview

August 19, 2010 -

The always interesting VICE has an interview up with Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) President Cary Sherman, in which the head of the oft-vilified organization attempts to put a spin on the RIAA’s ever-so-slightly more friendly public face, as it switches from harassing end users to focusing more on ISPs.

In a snappy introduction it was noted that Sherman “is often seen as the face man for an oppressive totalitarian behemoth that can potentially throw you in the slammer and/or fine you into a horrid existence for illegally downloading shining examples of popular culture like “California Gurls” by Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg.”

In the piece, entitled Downloading Some Bullshit, Sherman answered a series of questions to the best of his ability.

Some Highlights:

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UK Trade Group Proposal Suggest ISPs Pay for File-Sharing

July 15, 2010 -

A trade group representing the music industry in the United Kingdom wants internet service providers in the region to pay a fee to combat piracy. The group, PRS for Music, represents around 65,000 songwriters and publishers and is also comprised of another group - the Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society.

The group proposes that ISPs either combat unlicensed media files on their networks or pay a fee to blanket license copyrighted material and offer it to its users. In other words, copyright enforcement becomes the job of ISPs. The organization also suggests an alternative where ISPs could be charged for "blanket licenses" so that they can "determine for themselves how best to capture the raw value of media on networks."

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PBS to Air Video Games Live Concert

July 9, 2010 -

On July 31 Public Television Stations around the country will air Video Games Live, the popular concert series that combines classical music scores with tantalizing multimedia presentations. The 90-minute TV special to air on PBS stations will feature orchestrated performances of songs from a wide array of popular videogames such as Halo, Super Mario Bros. and more. Be sure to check your local TV listings for airtimes.

For more info on VGL, check out www.videogameslive.com

Source: Game | Life

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Gamers: Jace Has Your Back

February 19, 2010 -

Jason/Jace Hall has had a long and varied career centered in interactive entertainment, but he’s found yet another new career to try out—recording star.

Hall is putting out an EP entitled Video Games Aren’t Bad For Ya, which as you might imagine, will attempt to put games in a positive light. The EP’s first single is called I Play W.O.W., an unapologetic ode to playing the massively multiplayer online game.

Hall's take on game critics:

When you are told that you are being lazy, or wasting your time, or being anti social – when in fact you have just spent 22 hours working VERY hard with a GROUP of people accomplishing extremely difficult tasks – you want to tell the uninformed person accosting you to F** OFF!

While the song has a certain Weird Al quality to it, it’s all in fun, and Hall is a giant of a man, so we’ll reserve any further judgment. Just go listen to/download a clean version of the song here. Clean and explicit versions are available on iTunes for 99 cents each.

Hall was a co-founder and CEO of Monolith Productions before moving on to become Senior Vice President of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Now he is an Executive Producer of the ABC television show V: The Series and star of the Jace Hall Show.

5 comments

Courtney Love Threatens Guitar Hero 5 Lawsuit Over Kurt Cobain Avatar

September 11, 2009 -

Video game blogs and message boards have been debating the appropriateness of Kurt Cobain’s posthumous inclusion as a playable character in the recently released Guitar Hero 5.  Some think it’s a welcome tribute, others find it a bit creepy if not outright distasteful.

But what does Cobain’s widow Courtney Love think?  Well, one needs look no further than her Twitter account:

For the record this Guitar Hero [expletive] is breach of contract on a Bullys part and there will be a proper addressing of this and retraction. WE are going to sue the [expletive] out of Activision we being the Trust the Estate the LLC the various LLCs Cobain Enterprises.

While Love’s main gripe seems to be the appearance of Cobain’s character model and a feature that allows it to perform other artist’s songs, Activision Vice President Tim Riley told The Guardian that she was very cooperative in the creation of the game:

Courtney supplied us with photos and videos. She picked the wardrobe and hairstyle, which turned out to be the 'Teen Spirit' look, then we went back and forth over changes – some subtle, some not so subtle.

Love, for her part, doesn’t seem to agree:

Activision is fulllo f sh*t... i never intended to APPROVE this sh*t, they are doing a recall you can be sure of that… wait til you see what my lovely lawyer has cooked up, i never ever signed off on this.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that surviving Nirvana members Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl are also unhappy with the use of Cobain’s likeness:

While we were aware of Kurt's image being used with two Nirvana songs, we didn't know players have the ability to unlock the character.  This feature allows the character to be used with any kind of song the player wants. We urge Activision to do the right thing in 're-locking' Kurt's character so that this won't continue in the future.

Activision defended itself in a statement released Thursday, saying that it “secured the necessary licensing rights from the Cobain estate in a written agreement signed by Courtney Love to use Kurt Cobain’s likeness as a fully playable character in Guitar Hero 5.”

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Senior Correspondent Andrew Eisen

57 comments

Limited Edition Beatles Rock Band Xbox 360 Auction Benefits Doctors Without Borders

September 10, 2009 -

With 84 bids down and seven days of auctioning left as I write this, a limited edition Xbox 360 which celebrates the release of The Beatles Rock Band is selling for $7,400 on Ebay.

The sale of the beautifully customized console will benefit Doctors Without Borders. From the auction listing:

Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison personally selected the charity as the beneficiary of these proceeds.

Kotaku reports that the charitable auction is the first in a series.

If the console auction is too rich for your blood, purchasing the DLC bonus track All You Need is Love on Xbox Live (about $2) will help out Doctors Without Borders as well. All proceeds go to the charity an purchasers will be entered into a context to win one of the limited edition consoles as well as a
Rickenbacker 325 replica guitar controller.
 

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AvalongodAgain I think we're conflating the issue of whether Sarkeesian's claims are beyond critique (no they're not) and whether its ever appropriate to use sexist language, let alone physical threats on a woman to intimidate her (no it isn't)08/29/2014 - 5:04pm
prh99Trolling her or trying to assail her integrity just draws more attention (Streisand effect?). Which is really not what the trolls want, so the only way to win (if there is a win to be had) is not to play/troll.08/29/2014 - 5:02pm
prh99Who cares, just don't watch the damn videos if you don't like her. Personally, I don't care as far as she is concerned as long there are interesting games to be played.08/29/2014 - 4:34pm
Andrew EisenZip - And yet, you can't cite a single, solitary example. (And no one said you hated anyone. Along those lines, no one claimed Sarkeesian was perfect either.)08/29/2014 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenSaint's Row: Gat Out of Hell was just announced for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One making it the 150th game For Everything But Wii U! Congratulations Deep Silver!08/29/2014 - 3:49pm
ZippyDSMleeI do not hate them jsut think its mostly hyperlobe.08/29/2014 - 3:40pm
Andrew EisenSleaker - I'd say that's likely. From my experience, most who have a problem with Sarkeesian's videos either want to hate them in the first place (for whatever reason) or honestly misunderstand what they're about and what they're saying.08/29/2014 - 3:16pm
james_fudgeWe appreciate your support :)08/29/2014 - 2:55pm
TechnogeekIt gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, the gaming community is not statistically indistinguishable from consisting entirely of people that your average Xbox Live caricature would look at and go "maybe you should tone it down a little bit".08/29/2014 - 2:49pm
TechnogeekI just want to say that while I've disagreed with the staff of this site on several occasions, it's still good to see that they're not automatically dismissing Anita's videos as a "misandrist scam" or whatever the preferred dismissive term is these days.08/29/2014 - 2:49pm
E. Zachary KnightZippy, So you can't find even one?08/29/2014 - 1:04pm
ZippyDSMleeAndrew Eisen:Right because shes prefect and never exaggerates... *rolls eyes*08/29/2014 - 12:53pm
SleakerAnd honestly, nearly all of the games she references, or images she depicts I've always cringed at and wondered why they were included in games to begin with, from pinups through explicit sexual depictions or direct abuse. I think it's cheap storytelling.08/29/2014 - 12:35pm
Sleaker@AE - aren't most people fundamentally misunderstanding her at this point? haha.. On a related note I think a lot of the backlash is coming from males that think she is telling them their 'Generic Male Fantasy' is bad and wrong.08/29/2014 - 12:33pm
Andrew EisenAnd no, I don't think the female community would be upset over the performance of a case study in and of itself. Possibly the mostivations behind such a study, the methodology or conclusions but not the mere idea of a case study.08/29/2014 - 12:29pm
Andrew EisenAmusingly, these videos aren't saying you can't/shouldn't use tropes or that sexual representations are inherently problematic so those are very silly things to have a problem with and indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of the series.08/29/2014 - 12:29pm
SleakerDo you think the female community would get extremely angry over a male doing a case study on the negative impact of sex-novels and their unrealistic depiction of males and how widespread they are in american culture?08/29/2014 - 12:25pm
SleakerThe other thing that people might find problematic is that they see no problem with sexual representations of females (or males) in games. And realistically, why is there anything wrong with sexual representations in fiction?08/29/2014 - 12:24pm
SleakerTo even discuss or bring up these issues at a cultural level to begin with. Going straight for games to many probably feels like a huge overstepping given that it's interactive story in many cases, and when you're telling a story why can't you use tropes.08/29/2014 - 12:21pm
SleakerI think a large part of the controversy stems from the idea that games aren't culture setters, but culture reactors, and simply depict what is already in culture. So people don't care that games use tropes or are blind to them because we've failed ...08/29/2014 - 12:20pm
 

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